A percentage of the daters who appear on e Harmony—and other dating sites—are not even paying subscribers, leading one critic to say that many users are, “flirting into the void.” Still, e Harmony is doing a number of things well, according to Dan Ariely.“First of all, they have this million-question survey,” he said. It was also the start of an industry designed to exploit a market: millions of singles eager – or desperate – to find a match. With some 1,500 sites claiming they can match your personality type, your genes – even your facial structure - to potential mates, no company touts a “formula for success” as much as e Harmony, which owns 15 percent of the market. “We’ve always focused on long-term relationships,” he said. But really, when it comes down to it, our desire to find someone to connect with, to find a long-term relationship is a very deep part of our psyche.” Long before the conversation turns to matrimony, finding your online match takes commitment.Punch cards and personal ads gave way to the first online dating sites, launched in the mid-90s. The company says the goal is to help you find someone - like you. Subscribers fill out a compatibility survey with hundreds of questions and pay as much as a month.But they’re very good at finding needles in a haystack.And e Harmony claims to have a big haystack – but it’s not exactly clear just how big.
“That was the beginning of what turned out to be an incredible relationship for the rest of my life,” he said. “We like to say that opposites attract and then later on they attack.” Marriage-minded and straight-laced At e Harmony, Gonzaga said he focuses on appealing to the marriage-minded and the straight-laced.
In men, the research shows, height and salary are key.
Ariely said that a 5-foot, 9-inch tall man like himself would need to add another ,000 a year to his annual income to hold the same attraction as another guy who stands 5'10". “More educated men are more desirable,” said Ariely. Women who are more educated don't necessarily get any more attractive in online dating.” For some singles, the idea of reducing romantic attraction to an algorithm may seem too simplistic.
In his late teens, he was hospitalized for three years with a bad burn injury as he healed, he worried that his value in the dating market had plummeted.
“I knew my place in the social hierarchy before I got burned,” he said.